Student reflects summer spent in family business

As I thought about writing a column for the first time this week, I decided with my usual sense of critique that I am undeniably boring.  I worked at my mom’s pharmacy over the summer and helped around the house.  Holy exciting summer, Batman!

Even if it wasn’t very exciting, I did value it.  I would say I learned a lot more about myself than I did about Prilosec and Gabapentin.

As the oldest of seven, I did chores whenever I wasn’t working.  My youngest sister is just about 6 months old now, so I got to spend my days off catering to her.

I made a lot of bottles and changed a lot of diapers.  It was great.

When I came back to school, I made jokes that my summer was “all family, all the time.”  This was received with empathetic groans from most of my friends.

I suppose it was an appropriate response on their part, considering the amount of sarcasm I’d use to explain it.  But spending so much time with them this summer made leaving for school harder.

My mom and I bonded over the addictive nature of Tramadol and snarky remarks about our “store crazies.”

We dealt with some characters, including a woman who insisted on writing everything out when she came to pick up her prescriptions because she was convinced aliens could attack her mind if she spoke out loud, a man who always bought Epsom salts for his garden and gave us Lifesaver peppermints before he left and a lonely woman who asked for hugs whenever she brought in her scripts.

Working with my papa was great.    I never realized he was so witty because he usually hides it.

He’s a soft-spoken Italian man, so his jokes can easily get lost in his mumbles.  My mother and I had a running joke that our patients preferred him because they weren’t quite sure what he was ever saying.

If I were lucky, though, he’d tell me stories whenever we were slow.

He told me his reaction to the death of his own grandfather and how he broke his aunt’s glass coffee table when the wake looked more like a party than a service.

I got to hear about the time he wanted to try chewing tobacco like the rest of his baseball team so his father made him eat a cigarette.

After chewing that, he never touched tobacco again.

When I called home last week, my youngest brother talked to me last and shouted, “I didn’t miss you at all!” before handing the phone back to my mom.

Unlike my brother, I miss them a lot, but it helps to know they’re supporting me from the pharmacy computer and the living room couch.

 

KELSEY GHERING

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